As the automobile industry shifts into global, modular platforms for industry growth, it is more vital than ever to identify emerging leadership within the organization. Innovative leadership is needed to build strong foundations that will increase revenue in a sustainable way for the long term. The Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA), headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, is the North American operational headquarters and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany. VWGoA has a long history of promoting their leaders from within the organization. Although the name Volkswagen is synonymous with the innovative Beetle, strategic leadership was needed to drive the U.S. brand to profitable growth. They needed leadership who could hit the ground running and training that support the demands of a tough economic climate.
The organization has a well-established practice of strategically moving high-performing leaders into different roles and markets around the world. As a multinational organization, VWGoA benefits from the experiences leaders bring from previous roles, as well as the cumulative knowledge gained. Often, the organization and the leaders assume they have the data and context needed to easily transition into executive positions in the US-based operations.
While the relationships build an understanding that successfully navigating the corporate structure is extremely valuable for an executive, assumptions that previous achievements will also position them for success in their future role can be misplaced. The consequence of not developing a purposeful strategy and plan to integrate into their new roles often delays an executive’s trajectory toward success and productivity. As a result, the organization loses precious time and progress. VWGoA was facing a gap between leadership potential and the need for performance-driven results.
The HR leadership understood they needed help to avoid the potential pitfalls of a “selfmanaged” transition or onboarding, including the tangible and intangible consequences felt by the business and the executive’s team. To address this critical need, Connect the Dots partnered with HR to apply its on-target® executive coaching process to leaders that were transitioning from other parts of the global organization. Key components of the coaching solution included:
Although the leader was not new to VWGoA, he had not been in the US market for several years. It was critical that neither he nor his key stakeholders assumed that he was knowledgeable about the market, internal processes, etc. Resources to support coaching action items were given to the leader and the HR leadership.
The leader onboarding coaching model provided both the new leader with the tools and resources at the right time throughout the onboarding time period. The are you connected?® survey provided the transitioning leaders with valuable feedback about how successful stakeholders perceived the leader to be. The coaching work enabled the leaders to create a purposeful plan to establish the right relationships and understand the new culture and structure leading to both short and long term success.
VWGoA faces an increasingly challenging competitive market. Their leaders must learn how to set up and control product-development and supply systems so complex they’ll make today’s already-sophisticated systems look simple. In addition, quality will be more important than ever, as just one single recall could end up affecting numerous brands and models.
With the on-target® executive coaching process, VWGoA now has leadership training that is built to reach their organization’s goals, confident they understand the parameters of their key performance indicators. And they are well on their way toward achieving stronger sales in the U.S. automobile market as a result.